Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Multiple Select Items

Multiple select items are quickly becoming the new way of assessing our students in the math classroom.  For those of us who are used to the MCAS recipe of multiple choice/short answer/open response, multiple select items will present a big change!  With multiple select questions, students have the ability to acknowledge more than one answer as correct.  Take the picture above as an example.  Both 1a. and 1c. are correct representations of the fraction 2/5.  This model makes it more difficult to guess the one correct answer and also better demonstrates what a real world dilemma might look like.  

Both PARCC and Smarter Balanced have decided to include multiple select items because being college and career ready often means representing your answer in multiple ways.  Although Massachusetts is a PARCC state, all math educators should feel free to explore the Smarter Balanced Sample Items.  They use the term non-traditional selected response items instead of multiple select and the example above is taken from their large bank of questions.

If you are wondering how to go about creating your own on-line multiple select items, I have the website for you!  Open Ed just announced a new assessment creation tool that includes multiple select response questions.  In order to use this tool, you must first set-up a free login at OpenEd.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New and Improved PLC Website

The Professional Learning Communities Expansion Project website has received a make-over! 
If you work in a district that participates in the project, please take a few minutes to visit the website and explore the new features.  All modules come with facilitator's guides and lesson plans.  All protocols can be found under the 'tools and resources' tab.  If you were unable to attend one of the institutes, all agendas and powerpoints can be found under the 'home' tab.
Check out it out here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Traveling Bloom's Taxonomy

Our DSAC team recently conducted a Learning Walkthrough with a focus on characteristic #9: lesson tasks and guiding questions lead students to engage in a process of application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The Characteristics of Standards-based Teaching and Learning can be found on DESE's website and serve as the focus of inquiry for all formal Learning Walkthroughs.  While visiting classrooms, I was reminded of the importance of traveling Bloom's Taxonomy and felt inspired to blog about it this week. 

The idea of traveling Bloom's Taxonomy was first mentioned in 1956 by psychologist Benjamin Bloom to discourage teachers from teaching only rote memorization.  With the popularization of objective-based lesson planning comes the need for action verbs at the beginning of the objective statements.  Clemson University has done an exceptional job of breaking down these action verbs into Bloom's Taxonomy Categories. 

For those of you who are looking for a more math-specific list, please check the Montemath Bloom's Taxonomy Chart that not only lists math-specific action verbs but also lists sample tasks that match said verbs.  The final missing piece is the development of solid questioning techniques that are not limiting students to lower order knowledge retrieval.  Analysis, synthesis and evaluation should not be present only in the humanities classrooms.  You have the power to bring characteristic #9 to a math classroom near you! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Free Summer Math Opportunities

With less than a month left until the official end of the 2013-2014 school year, you must be filled with excitement and anticipation.  I wanted to devote this week’s post to summer math opportunities that don’t break the bank.  Whether you have a week, a day or even a few hours to devote to math education this summer, these resources can help guide you.

Let’s begin with a student opportunity.  Most on-line student interventions are costly.  Khan Academy is always an excellent choice but this summer our options have expanded! TenMarks is offering a free summer program for students.  The program is personalized, and is based on an upfront diagnostic assessment.  It has embedded instruction, intervention, and points and rewards to motivate.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has a number of free math PD courses for educators.  DESE's Professional Development Offerings range from understanding fractions to developing proportional thinking.

Are you part of the 5 District Partnership?  If so, there are some excellent PD opportunities for you!  The 5 District Partnership (5DP) courses are focused on Understanding by Design (UbD) with open enrollment as well as district-selected opportunities with stipends.  Check out the image above for more details and register here.